09 March 2004 21:24 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--The global market for polymer nanocomposites - valued at $90.8m (Euro72.6m) last year - is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 18.4% to reach $211.1m by 2008, according to a new study made available to CNI Tuesday.Polymer Nanocomposites: Nanoparticles, Nanoclays and Nanotubes, a soon-to-be-released updated report from Business Communications Company (BCC) of Norwalk, Connecticut, also noted that current volumes of thermoplastic and thermoset nanocomposites produced are roughly equal.
However, said Samuel Brauer, senior research analyst at BCC, thermoplastics are expected to constitute 77% of the market by 2008.
He continued: "The dollar value of thermoplastics is larger because these are higher valued added goods and are used in high dollar niche applications. Over the next five years, some of the long touted applications of thermoplastic nanocomposites may come to fruition, which would lead to dramatic growth in these markets in both dollars and volumes."
Even if these new applications run into unexpected difficulties, the products will continue to expand into their existing markets at a strong rate of growth, exceeding 20% in some cases, Brauer said.
Polymer nanocomposites (thermoplastics and thermosets) have been making a large splash in the media and in many industries, he added. Most of the successes of nanocomposites have been low profile but they have stealthily been making an impact on modern life.
He continued: "Computer read/write heads are protected using electrostatic discharge (ESD) polymers, which contain nanotubes as well. In Europe, some buildings contain flame retardant polymers with nanoclays mixed in, while Japanese automakers continue to use nanoclay filled polymers for engine parts."
Perhaps the most visible nanocomposite application involves General Motor's recent announcement that its 2004 Chevrolet Impala will have the first major exterior application of a nanoclay filled thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), he added.
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